New to you Jan 10 => Best new game you played this month and why
Andy
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What's the best new game you played this month (January 10) and why? Share your experiences of the new games you've played this month.

It would be helpful, if you could add an entry to the list even if you pick the same game as someone else.. since I use the geeklist entries to compile the summaries. Thanks



New To You Metalist 2010

New To You Meta-list - old metalist (currently broken)

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Your Most Played Game (and more): January 2010
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101. Board Game: Homesteaders [Average Rating:7.26 Overall Rank:609]
Kurt R
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
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All life is only a set of pictures in the brain, among which there is no difference betwixt those born of real things and those born of inward dreamings, and no cause to value the one above the other.
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TOP DOG

Homesteaders

BGG strategy dude, Alex Rockwell’s, offering of a fast-playing but relatively deep auction/building building/worker placement game (that wasn’t redundant btw). There are a lot of familiar mechanics here, and I find they all get along swimmingly in this game. I’m a fan of the Vegas Showdown step auction, and I like that someone is forced to take Publicity railroad track each turn and miss out on one of the available auctions. It makes for some fun “auction hopping”. Also, some auctions give you a free boon as well as the ability to purchase a building. Nice touch.

The building combos seem like they have multiple paths and the potential for different paths to victory. I wouldn’t know yet as I’ve gotten skunked in my first two plays. Been too eager to avoid the Publicity railroad track because of my experience in VS. Here it’s not as lame, and can be quite advantageous besides just a way to hoard money. I also like that the buildings are of three “classes” and get replaced in each of the three phases of the game (settlement, town, city). Creates a sense of urgency to get a building before it goes away.

Finally, there’s the worker placement aspect. So you have all these buildings you won in the auctions, but you probably don’t have enough workers to place on all of them. You get to pick each turn what you want your workers to do for you: "I need more apples! No, gimme some wood! Wait, I want a trade chit so I can go to market! Get to work, you lazy bums. I ain’t feedin’ you for nothing!" (well, per the rules you do feed any workers who don’t work, but you get the idea).

Overall, this is a fast-playing game which overachieves on the playing time-to-number of quality decisions ratio, and I look forward to exploring this game more. I may find out that the buildings don’t offer as much replayability as they seem, but I look forward to finding out.


FRONT OF THE PACK



Agricola: Farmers of the Moor
Oh man, I really enjoyed this. I loved playing without the occupations (which I find to break the game too much and slow it down) and the new heating rules. Those “free” actions as options to take made for some even more delicious decisions. I had burned out on the ‘Gric, but this expansion has rekindled my interest, and I look forward to getting this on the table again soon.



Erosion
A card game that’s been compared to Glory to Rome due to the multiple-use cards. I’m a big fan of G2R, and I really like this game. I posted some variant rules that we use which help with dead hands and the scoring, and it plays really well. It takes up to 4P but I’ll be talking in terms of 2P.

The object of the game is to get points by collecting rocks from the river and building up your mountain. You do this by playing cards to wear away (weather) your opponent’s mountain, wash (hillslope) weathered rocks to the river, and collect the rocks that have been washed away (fluvial). There are three decks of cards to choose from to accomplish these goals.

When you use cards to weather or hillslope, you get to draw a card for every card affected by the card you played. So you can play one card and affect three cards resulting in three draws for you, and you get to choose which of the three decks to draw from. Now put 'em in your mountain and make it grow! The fluvial cards allow you to snag rocks out of the river before you opponent does and you can snag more than one of the same type at a time. Those are points, baby! The advanced game offers bonuses on some of the cards, making your decisions more layered.

Plenty of fun decisions, though it can be frustrating not to get the card you need to wear down an opponent’s mountain. The expansion that the designer is offering on the game’s page is recommended to provide more of the best rock (welded tuff) and some extra hillsloping actions. The expansion also comes with some extra scoring cards, but I haven’t felt the need to even try them yet.

I feel like I should say something about the cards and the art. The cards are an odd shape, but you don’t do much shuffling, so I didn’t find it a problem. The art is OK to me. Neither exceptional nor a hindrance, and the game is educational to boot. For $17 delivered, I recommend it.



Pyramid aka Fluch der Mumie
I saw Scott Nicholson’s video review and the kid in me had to have this game. Though it’s a children’s game, this is the game I wanted GW’s Curse of the Mummy's Tomb to be. I’m still not sure about the need for a house rule or not to help the mummy, as reports are that both the mummy and the treasure hunters win too many games.

If you haven’t seen this game, you need to check out Scott’s video review and see for yourself how the magnetic pieces stick to the vertical board and how the mummy spookily moves through the corridors searching for those greedy archeologists. I bet they’re not turning over those treasures they find to the Egyptian government, are they? Give Egypt its stolen treasures back, western world!



Carson City
This one gets an Incomplete grade as I need to play it again. It took me a while to grok the houses for some reason (why did I build a bank in the corner away from everybody? D’oh!). Nonetheless, I came in third by only 3 points as I did grok early on that points were scarce, and I bought a bunch while they were cheap. Had I managed my bank better, I would’ve pulled out a victory in my first play.

On the downside, the game has a lot of bookkeeping that even experienced players can innocently mess up, and there’s plenty of opportunity for AP as the draws to an end and everyone starts min/maxing. I can see why it’s only 4 turns. One more turn would’ve been excruciating. I get this sense that I’ll play this a handful of times and then be done with it. We’ll see.


BACK OF THE PACK




Ghost Stories
I’ve only recently gotten into the whole coop thing, and I find myself wanting to try just about any that are out there. I was happy to try this and would try it again, but I could never see playing this on a regular basis as it’s just too much of the same. The ghosts come out, you beat them back, the ghosts come out, you beat them back, the ghosts come out... Lather, rinse, repeat until you die and ostensibly want to try it again because you feel like you coulda pulled it out.

I was surprised to find how simple this game is. Sure, it has a lot of moving parts, and I did watch user grudunza's excellent vid-torial series on it TWICE before playing, but in the end, you’re just running around and buying cards with colored chits and colored dice. Pretty simple stuff.

I just wish the game had more of an arc to it, like if the game board changed at some point such that different buildings were available or the ghosts became fewer but stronger or things changed as day went to night or something to give it a sense of progression and not just recycling.
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102. Board Game: Infinite City [Average Rating:6.21 Overall Rank:2894]
Robert
United States
Seattle
Washington
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Infinite City - About 20 plays so far.

A game that I had been anticipating for almost half a year. Lived up to my expectations. A nice light strategy game that scales well from 2 to 6 players. The artwork is the reason I became interested, and the finished product is just flat beautiful.

Thunderstone - About six or so plays.

FIRED Dominion for me. Another game that met or exceeded the hype. There have been some who find the rules a bit confusing, but AEG has done a very good job addressing the issue. Well worth the price.

Unpublished Prototype - One play

"FC" - A soccer game that is being developed by my good friend Thomas Powell. he brought it to a local game convention that was unfortunately not well attended. But those of us who tried this game found it to be exciting and fun. I don't want to give too much away at this point as the game is still in development, but it plays well, is easy to understand, and has the right balance of strategy and luck.
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103. Board Game: Tide of Iron [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:709]
Joe Thomas
United States
Coshocton
Ohio
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I must say, after the big game holidays, not too many new games here. I guest that we played most of them before the new year.

Tide of Iron

My first into wargaming! I have to say, I love this game and can not wait to play again and again.

Thunderstone

Some might say that this is just a Dominion wanna be, but I say that it takes what Dominion does and makes it better, a whole lot better! This game has almost made people around here forget about Dominion.

Huggermugger

An odd little game that would help if you can spell, and I suck at spelling. surprise

Well. that's all I got for this month, but next month looks a lot more promising. With me getting 5 new games in the mail on the first day of February and we already played one of them. Which one?!?! You'll have to wait 'til next month's report. Until them, good gaming.
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104. Board Game: Mwahahaha! [Average Rating:5.68 Overall Rank:11409]
Netherlands
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Lots of new games this month, but very hard to pick the best... So I picked the one with the best theme

Camelot Legends
Played twice with the basic rules... Fun game, bit too random maybe. The full rules should fix that though.

Yetisburg: Titanic Battles in History, Vol. 1
Yetis and Mastodonts fighting, what's not to like. There's some luck in drawing the attack tokens, but that's part of the fun.

Agricola: Farmers of the Moor
This one was much better than I expected. If we play Agricola it's almost always the family version, and this adds some nice variation to the game.

Bohnaparte
Bohnanza the wargame... not my cup of tea. I don't like the extra stuff that you get from conquering cards on the 'board'.

Cannes: Stars, Scripts and Screens
This is very, very ugly. But once you get past that, the game is a lot better than its looks. Theme could have been something else just as easily.

Day & Night
Played only once and neither of us knew what the cards did, so the Night player went for confrontational play, which didn't work out because a lot of his cards only work if he has a temple... Would need another play to get a better idea of the game.

Galactic Emperor
Role selection like PR with a space theme. We forgot about the rule that gives VPs for combat, so we were just exploring space and controlling planets... I would like to play again with the full rules.

Kung Fu Fighting
Quick game with a fun theme.

Middle-Earth Quest
Fiddly game, lots of things to put out. We had fun playing, but I'm not sure about the replayability.

Mwahahaha!
Another game we got for the fun theme. The rulebook is overly long, but the game itself is fun.

Oraklos
We got this game as part of a Splotter games package (with Cannes, VOC and Indonesia), and this is a real stinker... it took only 10-15 minutes to try out and we were wishing it was over the whole time.
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105. Board Game: Hansa Teutonica [Average Rating:7.64 Overall Rank:122]
Paulo Soledade
Portugal
Leiria
Leiria
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Not many new games this month.

Hansa Teutonica is one of those games that I don't particularly enjoy playing but really enjoy the challenge. So, I like the way this game challenges my head but really find it a bit annoying and dull to play. A rare case in where the end justifies the means.
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106. Board Game: Shipyard [Average Rating:7.37 Overall Rank:506]
Chris
United States
Cheektowaga
New York
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Shipyard - 2 plays

Absolutely love this game. Reminds me of Le Havre in that you have so many choices and not enough actions to get everything done. I thought the idea of 5 rondels would be a bit much but this game just works. My Favorite game right now.

Rise of Empires - 1 Play

Jury is out on this until I get to play with more people. I had 1 two player game and this is NOT a two player game regardless of what the box says. The player in second place cannot catch up. He can spend every action trying to get the leader or slow him down but in doing so doesn't advance himself. This game needs 3 or 4 to keep everyone in check. It is just too easy to get a jump a the start of the game and never look back.

Power Grid: Factory Manager - 1 play

OK this I enjoyed quite a bit. I definitely rank this much higher then Power Grid in my book. Very difficult to optimize when you only have 5 turns. 2 first time players got a game with rules explanation done in under an hour. Very nice.

The Pillars of the Earth: Builders Duel - 2 plays

This is a very nice 2 player card game with (IMHO) one simple flaw. The coin flip for the 3rd action each round is just to much. Both of the people I played with said they liked the game but didn't like that mechanic. Luckily the designer has a "official" variant which removes the flipping. I am looking forward to playing this way.

Runewars - 1 play :
 

Enjoyed this one but there were a couple of things that stood out. The Heroes just seem way too pasted on. In the game I played ALL the runes I used to win were from Season cards so the hero was just walking around doing nothing. They can only fight other heroes and they level up for really not much of a reason but to add "Heroes" into the game I guess. I would like to try it again with 3 players.

Actually had to come back to add this
Infinite City - 1 Play

This was so bad that I tried to forget I even played it. I will not be playing this again.
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107. Board Game: Eat Poop You Cat [Average Rating:7.48 Overall Rank:867]
Steve Wagner
United States
Wood River
Nebraska
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Thanks to Chit Chat, I have a new awesome party game to play!

Other than that, I guess I decided to play only games that I already knew last month, because I have no other played games which were new to me.
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108. Board Game: Dos Rios [Average Rating:6.44 Overall Rank:2501]
Tim Stellmach
United States
Arlington
Massachusetts
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January was a slow month for me as far as new games went. Funnily, my order of preference was directly the opposite of the BGG ranking.

Dos Rios: Redirecting the rivers is an interesting mechanism, and the strategic choices are substantial enough.
Colossal Arena: I fear this one didn't get a fair shake, since playing it with 5 players gives very little influence per round to any given player. The result was too chaotic for me to enjoy. The user poll does not agree, but I feel like 3 (maybe 4) players is probably about the useful maximum for this one.
Wits & Wagers: Nicely done, but even lighter than I expected, and I'm not a big fan of party games at the best of times. I wouldn't necessarily turn it down, but I wouldn't cross the street to play it, either.

There was also one new Unpublished Prototype this month, but what do you really expect out of that?
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109. Board Game: Sorry! Sliders [Average Rating:6.40 Overall Rank:1759]
Gudjon Torfi Sigurdsson
Iceland
Isafjordur
Isafjardarbaer
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Sorry! Sliders. 37 plays last month. What can you say about this one, a great game for almost everyone - gamers and non-gamers, girls and boys, old and young. I happened to drop by at Nexus, a comic-book shop in Reykjavík with some boardgame/dvd selection as well and saw this one on the shelf. My gf didn't look too pleased when she saw the box, but after I had tried it with the youngest girl (11 yo) she was persuaded to take part and of course she enjoyed it as well. Then one Saturday I brought it out with some relatives and it was played for hours... I'll definetly play this one again.

No Thanks! 3 plays. Bought this one a few years ago but hadn't tried it myself until now. A simple game, with cards numbered in a sequence but a few of them out of play each round. Every player then getting 11 chips which he can use to refuse taking a card in play. The trick is to take cards which form a sequence since then only the lowest card counts but you can't be sure if all the cards you need are in play. Simple, quick and fun filler. I'll probably play this one again.

Formula Dé Mini. 2 plays. Both solo to learn the rules, but those plays surely make me want to play it either solo or in a group. I got this game in the European Math Trade in January since I'd heard that Michael Schumacher was back in the Formula 1 (Grand Prix). I've never liked him (used to be McLaren man myself), but the F1 hasn't been the same since he left and we've hardly watched it since. I'll play this one again, even if it will only be solo!

Red November. 2 plays. The first one solo to learn the rules, the second with my gf, using 4 gnomes. I lost the first one, and we lost the second one as well, although I might have had a few rules wrong (a room was flooded to high water and I thought that meant the gnome in that room died instantly, seems like that's only the case if said gnome is unconsious at the time). We enjoyed it and will most likely try it with some friends later or even as 2p game.
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110. Board Game: StarCraft: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:391]
Martin Larouche
Canada
Longueuil
Quebec
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StarCraft

Played StarCraft TBG for the first time this month and i think i must've played it 6 or 7 times since then.
My favorite game was Twilight Imperium 3rd. This has grown steadily on me since i started playing it that now, i don't know if TI3 or SC is my favorite game of all time.
To me, it's that good.

StarCraft: Brood War


I liked it so much, i couldn't resist going for the expansion, even before i "burned-out" the base game. My wife gave me that "look"... whistle

RuneWars
 


A friend brought it over. Now i am a sucker for FFG games in general, as i now have in my closet RuneBound, Arkham Horror, Doom, TI3 and StarCraft. This game was pretty good from my initial impressions. However, i beleive it's the "weakest" insanely-huge-box game FFG has produced, having played StarCraft, Twilight Imperium 3rd and Descent. Some game elements just strike me as "odd", mainly the heroes. The difficulty in planning a long-term strategy because of random events added a bit to my frustration during that first game.
I will have to play it more, it's certainly not a "bad" game, but i beleive, in typical FFG fashion, that an "expansion" will eventually probably "fix" the game elements that seems "tacked-on", at least to me.

Pandemic: On the Brink


To me, Pandemic is a really great game.
To me, Pandemic can be played about a dozen time before you realize that all games will start to look more or less the same. It lacked diversity.

On the Brink corrected all that. It's now a really great game instead of a merely "good" one. We still have to play all the variants, but so far it's been a winner for me.
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111. Board Game: Greed Incorporated [Average Rating:6.98 Overall Rank:1907]
Ben Gander
United Kingdom
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Any one of 3 games could be the best new one for me this month:


Greed Incorporated is my pick as the best as it's the one that might improve most in my ratings with more plays. At heart it's a reasonably simple trading game; far simpler than I was expecting it to be. There are constantly some important decisions going on though - do you stay in to earn more money or is it worth quitting to get some cash now? Do you try and get more influence in one company then make it very strong or do you spread your influence and syphon money from all companies?

I'm hoping that the potential for more interesting deals come through in future plays, as that would make this one of my absolute favourites. The theme fits brilliantly with the game play too.


I was expecting to be thoroughly underwhelmed by Hansa Teutonica; instead, I find myself itching to play it again. I don't know if it's because I've had a break from "generic" Euros but this is one of the best of its type I've played and has reignited my enthusiasm for games of this style.

Pretty much everything has been said about this already so I won't go on but I do like that there appears to be a variety of routes to victory after the initial scramble for actions.


Runewars is a big mess of a game. Huge piles of cards and miniatures plus a big stack of overproduced terrain (3D mountains?!?) and a 40 page rulebook all made me a bit wary of this, yet the whole thing was just damn good fun. Wants an afternoon set aside to play it - this is a social game - but I'm really hoping I get one free soon to play this with 4.

My only minor gripes are that I'd like the heroes to be a bit more integrated into the rest of the game and one defeat can be too nasty if someone else comes in and mops up the routed troops. Considering the quality of everything else here though the problems hardly dampen my enthusiasm for this.

Others new to me:

Aqua Romana is far more interesting to me than Metro and other similar games I've played. The building restrictions reward planning, reduce random screwage and produce some interesting situations. A pleasant surprise.


Jaipur was wholly unexceptional. Would play it again but probably won't request it.


I didn't enjoy my play of Carson City but I'm not writing it off until I've had a second play, this time with more than 3 players. I'm hoping more players = more duels = each duel being less important overall; too few duels just makes the dice rolls too important.


Steam Barons was a disappointment. A tad too dry (and I'm known for liking dry games) and the heaviness of most of the play clashes heavily with the randomness of the turn order mechanics. Think I'll stick with Steam instead - now I just have to try out the base game on the new map.


EDIT: Realised I entirely missed Thunderstone off this list entirely which perhaps is the most accurate review I can give it. I really wanted to like this for the theme but it just played like Dominion without the interesting bits.
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112. Board Game: Assyria [Average Rating:6.88 Overall Rank:1539]
J. David Koch
United States
Indianapolis
Indiana
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The best new game for me in Jan was:

Assyria
Without a doubt the best "heavy" Euro game out of Ystari since Caylus.
Spent a lot of time trying to wrap my head around the full strategy, but I felt constantly engaged through the whole game.
Plenty of meat here without being head splitting.
Can't wait to get this to the table again.


The other best new game for me in Jan was:

Tammany Hall

Described by a buddy of mine as "just meanness in a box...."
How right he was.
Imagine a game set in the time of "Gangs of New York" that includes immigrants, union bosses, corrupt political figures, and a constant fight for area supremacy.
Great stuff!
Wonderful bits, fantastic artwork, and several game mechanisms that keep everyone close till the very end.
This one is going to see a lot of table time with my game group.
You really have to check this one out.



For something that is lighter, I would have to go to my runner up for the month:

Tobago


For me, this falls in the category of "family game" but it had a lot more depth than I expected when I picked it up.
I'm always on the lookout for something that I can play with a new gamer or with the family when we get together.

What I did not expect is to find something that I could pull out with my gaming friends and have a great time playing without feeling like we were playing something that was way too simple in strategy.

Very rare to find anything that can work with both audiences, but I think Tobago fits that niche nicely.
Fantastic bits too....


You might to want to stop by the overview done by 2d6.org.

http://www.2d6.org/2010/01/tobago-review/

They do great game video reviews and as it turns out, they are really nice folks too.

Think that January turned out to be a pretty good month for new games.
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113. Board Game: Key Harvest [Average Rating:6.78 Overall Rank:1574]
Jason Wiebe
Canada
Edmonton
Alberta
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Played several new ones this month - this and Tower of Babel were the best of the stand-alone games.

Dominion: Seaside and Farmers of the Moor are awesome additions to already great games.
Ark and Where's Bob's Hat didn't do much for me....
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114. Board Game: Pond Hockey [Average Rating:6.48 Unranked]
Peaceful Gamin'
Canada
Vancouver
BC
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Did this
last year and found Pond Hockey as a result. Have been giving it a good shake and it stood up top the test. It's PnP - go there, print your board, play it. Great game, totally different from the standard fare here...
Also take a look around the files section for player aids etc. and take a look at http://boardgame.geekdo.com/thread/488035/play-testing-reque... for some rules changes.

Edit: fro'-from
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115. Board Game: Kamisado [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:1243]
Nathan Woll
United States
Toledo
Ohio
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I started playing Kamisado on Yucata.de this month and I love it! I enjoyed it so much I made my own travel copy and logged 4 FtF plays in addition to 15 or so online plays.
My travel version:

Rating: 9

Other new games for me this month:

Reef Encounter - I've had this for awhile but the first time we tried to play the poorly written rules put us off. We tried again this month with some BGG aids and I really liked the game. I'm not sure if this will hit the table much though.
Rating: 8

Monopoly Deal Card Game - Great little filler. I would never have picked this up normally, but all the positive comments on the geek got me to try it. You can find this for around $5 and it's well worth the price.
Rating: 7

Villa Paletti - I was a little disappointed in this game. Whoever puts the first level on has a big advantage, because they can leave all their pieces uncovered. (Same for all the other levels as well)
Rating: 6

Hang Four - I suppose I can play this with my son, but otherwise not too many redeeming qualities. Draw cards, make sets, some screwage - that's the game.
Rating:5
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116. Board Game: Hansa Teutonica [Average Rating:7.64 Overall Rank:122]
Erik D
United States
Pasadena
California
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THE GREAT

Hansa Teutonica
This game did not look like much. Plus, the board layout didn't seem balanced. However, the game turned out great. While we all fought over the action city at the bottom of the board, we eventually branched off into our own strategies resulting in a very close finish between two players who gained all of their points in completely different ways.

Peloponnes
Great bidding mechanic and surprisingly deep gameplay considering the short game time. I'm looking forward to a US release.

Medici vs. Strozzi
I love Medici, so I've been wanting to try this 2-player version for a long time. Needless to say I was not disappointed. What an awesomely evil little bidding game.


THE GOOD

Alea Iacta Est
I love dice games and drafting, but this one left me a little cold. Then again, it was a three player game, so the Temple wasn't used. I'll have to try it again with 4.

Mr. Jack in New York
It feels like regular Mr. Jack, just a little more open. It's strange that people gush over this, but give Priests of Ra a lot of crap for being more of the same. Speaking of which...

Priests of Ra
Loved it. It's the same ol' Ra feel but with new tiles and mechanics. The game seemed a little less tense than regular Ra, however, so it may be a little more family friendly--but not by much.

Roma
I'm convinced there's a fun game here, but the rules were so poorly written and organized (particularly the card descriptions--was alphabetical order too hard?) that we spent more time trading the rulebook than playing. Thanks to my new player aids, I'm eager to give it another shot.

Breakthrough
Extremely simple 2-player abstract that can be played with an Othello board. It's simple, fun and quick, so no complaints here. I'm usually not a fan of the move-1-space-a-turn abstracts since they tend to make games take forever, but that's not an issue with Breakthrough.


THE BAD

BLADDER
Awesome components can't save this stinker. A move-1-space-a-turn ruleset provides for an agonizingly unfun experience.


EXPANSIONS

FITS: MOTS (More Of The Same)
More of the same indeed, but I like how the scoring rules are printed right on the boards, so I think this will replace the base boards (1-4) when teaching beginners. Looking forward to trying the other print-n-play expansions, particularly the vocabularic chaos of LOTS.

Race for the Galaxy: Rebel vs. Imperium
My first face to face play at least--I'm pretty familiar with the cards through solitaire. We played without the takeover rules, but I like how the new cards further balance out military versus colonization, a trend started with The Gathering Storm.
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117. Board Game: Runewars [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:190]
 
Brandon
United States
Christiansburg
VA
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Runewars takes the number one spot this month. There's so much to like about this one. It combines a lot of mechanics from many games that all appeal to a specific person in my regular gaming group. Only the iffy heroes (I don't hate them as much as many people seem to) and the excessively fleeing neutrals keep this from a 10 for me.


Runners Up:


Tobago is good, simple fun.

Arkham Horror, I'm still in the process of learning, cause I'm getting my ass kicked. I'm surprised that I want to play this more after a long string of Coop games have fell flat for me. Time will tell if it's genuine positive feelings or just the yearn to say I've won.
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118. Board Game: Doom: The Boardgame [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:966]
Everett Warren
United States
Marietta
Pennsylvania
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I played a number of games for the first time, and, with one exception, played them each once, so there's not a lot of depth behind these findings.

Ubongo is the gam that received two plays, one with my two sons (the youngest being a little too young to get it), and the other with my eldest son, my daughter, and my niece. Definitely fun, and I expect it to get more plays.

Arkham Horror saw the table for the first time in January, and I expect it to get back there again, especially seeing how much my daughter enjoyed playing it. This is probably the runner up for the best new game of the month.

Cartagena: Die Goldinsel was a fun game, and I expect it gets less credit than it deserves because people are expecting something more like Cartagena or Cartagena 2. The Pirate's Nest, and it really is its own game.

Dread Pirate revealed my daughter and youngest son's cutthroat sides, as they would have prolonged the game eternally as they favored ship-to-ship combat. After a short while, my eldest son and I realized what was happening and we went after the ports to end things. Although this is fun to play, it could definitely fall into an endless spiral. Which, I suppose, could still be fun for some people... In any case, great bits in this one.

Easter Island got its first play. Reminded me of one of those laser games, although you have to imagine the sunlight getting focused down and blasting a piece to bits. I do like how once you bring a beam in from one point you can't use that point again ~ that really guided my strategy.

I found that I could string good attacks together with Knightmare Chess 2, but the defense left me feeling lost. Will definitely have to play this a few more times before I feel comfortable with it.

I enjoyed Odin's Ravens, although I was working on a quantity of sleep that is better measured in minutes than in hours when I played it, so the rules seemed incomprehensible at first, but got much easier with each round. I expect to be playing this one a lot more.

The Pillars of the Earth was another enjoyable game, and one that even five year old Mr. B could perform well in (he held the lead for much of the game).

We introduced Snow Tails on a day my niece was over, and, despite being about twice Mr. B's age, I think she understood the concept of the mechanics slightly less than he did. Combined with a mis-read of some of the crash rules that led to an impromptu house rule (to try to make things fair), this first game didn't go as well as it could have. People are already talking about the next game, so I expect this will only get better with time.

The top new game for the month has to go to Doom: The Boardgame. We played that with three of us, and it was a blast. My daughter wants to play the invaders, and everyone seemed to really enjoy it.





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119. Board Game: Battle Line [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:202]
Ben
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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I really wasn't expecting to love Battle Line as much as I do. It has quickly become one my favorite games, however. It's so quick, but so challenging. It leaves me feeling with the same flush, tense, exhausted feeling as Agricola in 15-30 minutes.





Shipyard was probably second. It's a great two player game. I haven't tried it with more, yet. The first play was phenomenal, in part because it was a little overwhelming thanks to the now-ubiquitous one-too-few-actions mechanism. The second game wasn't as impressive, but that was in part because I had clearly won early on (my second game was my wife's first). I can see this becoming an amazing game if my opponents and I can ever get good enough to learn to use the action selection mechanism and rondels for blocking/screwage. I could also see it going down a little if we master it without gaining any additional interaction.





Third was Twilight Struggle, although it needs more plays. I'm a big fan of 1960, and I think I may end up liking Twilight Struggle more eventually. Oddly, it had a more period-specific atmosphere, and I enjoy the tension of a win-at-any-moment 2-player game. Unfortunately, I won too soon, and the Early War didn't have anything about it that made me go "Wow!" It was very enjoyable, though.



The others:
Memoir '44 cool
Dungeon Lords
Attika
Small World shake
Kingsburg robot
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120. Board Game: Risk: Godstorm [Average Rating:6.27 Overall Rank:2744]
The Count
United States
Sacramento
California
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Risk: Godstorm was the game I picked this month.


Note that I actually preferred Pandemic: On the Brink more, but I don't pick expansions for this list since I look at expansions very different than full games. My son loves Ameritrash, so I am always willing to try a new rollfest with him. I liked this reimplentation of Risk. It added some nice features like a turn limit, special powers for "the gods", and cards that can influence gameplay. I definitely liked this game. I bought this on Tanga with a combo with Risk 2210 A.D.. The only thing I didn't like as much with Risk: Godstorm was the Underworld combat. I liked the idea, but when I played, it seemed like it was more trouble than it's worth. I have read the rules for Risk 2210 A.D., and I think I will like the gameplay better, but I like the theme of this game a lot, so I will probably like them the same.

Fluxx


I had a little extra on my gift certificate I got for Christmas after I got Pandemic: On the Brink, so I grabbed this at my FLGS. I had wanted to try this for awhile depite many negative reviews I found here. My son liked this game, and I had fun as well. Yes the rule changes make strategy difficult, but like many Traditional Card Games, if you can count cards, and keep track of what cards are still in the deck, it requires more skill than one might think at first glance. But I don't know if I want to take that much effort, as it was a game for just a quick play with my son that I was looking for, and that is what I will use it for like a quick dice game.

Mastermind44


I had bought this on Ebay awhile back, but I hadn't been able to play it. I played it with my dad and mom when they were in town before they left a few days after New Year's Day. It was my second game of the year, as I played it on New Year's Day. I have played many games of Mastermind over the years with my dad, and it is one of the games I played a lot with my dad when I was a child.

It was a nice mecahnic to play Mastermind with four (4) people. Even my dad liked it, and he is picky. It is not something I will play a lot, but it was fun enough and unique enough that I am glad I have it. It is a good game to play with my dad in the future, though we solve it pretty quick.

Expansions:

Pandemic: On the Brink


A great expansion. Pretty much what you would want with an expansion. Intersting new variants, more roles, cool storage containers. I don't know much else you would want in an expansion. My only problem is that I don't win Pandemic enough to play this a lot yet, as I want to win more with the base game before I give myself more problems. But I know I will be using it soon, which is why I grabbed it with a gift certificate I got for Christmas after my first play of this at my gamegroup.
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121. Board Game: Thunderstone [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:625] [Average Rating:6.96 Unranked]
ɹɹǝʞ uɐɥʇɐu
United States
Hillsboro
Oregon
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My one new game last month was Thunderstone. I played it twice. Once with my friend and once with my wife.

I loved it! My friend loved it! My wife loved it! That almost never happens! She kept saying, okay we'll play five more minutes before we stop. She kept saying that until she won the Thunderstone and ended the game! She then confided that she absolutely loved it and wanted to try different layouts (we played the suggested first game layout). She even wants me to play with her so that she can play with my regular group of guys!

It's kind of funny. I love Dominion as well, and I thought that she might like that, but I never got around to teaching her. Mostly because she's a "theme" girl: if it's got a theme that she can get into, she'll probably like it. And while Dominion has a theme, it's not very strong.

Not so with Thunderstone!

Anyway, I played it twice last month and I'm looking forward to many more plays!
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122. Board Game: Thebes [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:444]
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Netherlands
Rijen
Noord Brabant
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Just one this month. Good game, let's see if we can get another play tonight.
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123. Board Game: Ra [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:159]
Matt McCallum
United States
Portland
Oregon
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Ra-5 plays
It was a very good month for gaming for me. I was able to try out several new games and Ra was the big stand out. I picked up this game in a trade a few months ago and got to play it at Conquest NW. After the first play I was hooked and wanted to play again. The auction is unique and creates great tension throughout the game. It also plays in about 20 minutes and packs a hefty gaming punch. My fiance loves it as well. There is going to be plenty of Ra-invoking going on in the future.

Thunderstone-1 play
I was dying to try this game out and I got my chance at Rainy Day Games. My fiance and I really enjoy Dominion so Thunderstone looked very appealing. After one play we are both smitten and the game is now at the top of our wishlist. I love the strong theme, the great artwork, the variety of monsters, and the use of heroes. There was one point in the game were the monsters were too difficult for anyone to defeat, but that didn't bother me because players were still able to build up their deck and get rid of unhelpful cards. I can't wait to play this one again.

Cosmic Encounter- 2 plays
I got this game from my Secret Santa and jumped on the chance to try it out with my regular group of gaming friends. The first play I messed up some of the rules which was fortunate because we were all thinking that it was an awful game. Thankfully some flipping through the rule book fixed the problems and the next game was much more enjoyable. We had plenty of laughs and enjoyed watching the different powers interact, but I don't think this is one my group will reach for too often. I think it is just a little too nasty of a game for the other couple we do 90% of our gaming with. My fiance really liked the game and I had a good time as well. I'm hoping we get a chance to play with some experienced players to see how things really come together.

Saint Petersburg- 1 play
I played a three-player game and I really enjoyed it. The game had a very nice flow and offered a variety of strategies and choices as far as what cards to take. It was fun building up my resources and working towards purchasing some top tier cards. I would gladly play this one again.

Robo Rally- 1 play
I really like the simultaneous programming mechanic in Space Alert so I enjoyed this game quite a bit. We played beginner map with seven players and everyone had a good time. The programming lead to some hilarious situations and I could see the potential for some truly brutal and creative maps. This game is now on my wishlist.

Ca$h 'n Gun$- 2 plays
Never again. While the idea of pointing foam pistols at your friends sounds like fun, we all thought the game was terrible. Sure, there were some chuckles during the first game, but we were all tired of it before the end of the second game. I'm happy that I tried it out and even happier that I didn't buy it!
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124. Board Game: A Victory Lost: Crisis in Ukraine 1942-1943 [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:1180]
Steve Herron
United States
Johnson City
Tennessee
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I had purchased the game when it came out but I had not gotten around to playing it due to playing other games. After starting to play it I felt the excitement that other gamers had had with playing it. The chit pull mechanic and simple rules make it a fantastic game. I am playing it solo but both sides are fun and a challange to play. I have been wargaming since the late 60s and it has been amoung the best games I have played.
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125. Board Game: Homesteaders [Average Rating:7.26 Overall Rank:609]
Bo Link
United States
Nashville
Tennessee
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Homesteaders
This was easily the best new game I played this month. I didn't play too many games overall, but I really enjoyed the auctions and engine building this offered. I've played it twice now, and I'm eager to get it to the table more.
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Utopian Rummy

My wife and I enjoy Mystery Rummy: Jack the Ripper, so I felt like taking a flyer on this based on all of the positive feedback. I've had three other games printed via Artscow, so I knew what to expect in terms of quality and time. The deck turned out really nice, and my wife enjoyed the first play. I'm sure this one will hit the table more as the year continues.
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Cardcassonne

I played this once on New Year's Day with my wife. I want to play it some more to explore it a bit more. I think it might be better with more players.
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Power Grid: Factory Manager

I was hoping to like this one more than I did. I have a feeling I need to play it a few more times. The playtime is very short for the weight it offers, and I do like games that provide good think in a short period of time. This one may grow on me, but I don't see it overtaking Power Grid in my opinion.
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